Edition 19: May 2005 Holy Spirit Province

Tonight I have been asked to reflect on the ANZAC spirit and consider it from a youth perspective — its importance and relevance in today's society.

What is it that continues to engage today's generation with an event that took place 90 years ago? What is it that fascinates and moves us about these events in history and the people who lived and breathed the horror of war? How is it that through such adversity the wisdom of love, humanity, faith and courage are born? It was a very different time and place, but I believe, that these events in history, and the spirit of ANZAC Day, and what wisdom evolved through the sacrifice of life, continue to have relevance in our world today, especially for our youth, as many who fought and gave of their lives where young adults.

It is the spirit of ANZAC that continues to unite and motivate us as a nation to reflect upon our identity as Australians, our freedom, and its significance for our nation and its people.

Today we admire the virtues of the ANZAC Diggers their strong love for our country and commitment to its future saw them prepared to sacrifice their own life to create the lifestyle we enjoy as Australians today.

As young leaders today we look for role models on which to base our leadership and clearly these people in their individual and collective quest displayed inspirational leadership based on the values of love and courage for each other, our country and its future.

I am proud to say my great grandfather Robert Clarke was one of the brave young men who fought for our country on the sands of Gallipoli, ninety years ago.

He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1883 to a catholic family. As a young man he enlisted as a soldier in the Boar War, demonstrating at this early age a willingness to stand and fight for the freedom of his country and what he considered was just, fair, and right.

At the closure of this war he migrated to Australia, and shortly after his arrival enlisted in the Australian Army. As a young soldier with the Australian Army his duty was to see him, as one of the many young soldiers who would disembark their ship that fatal morning at ANZAC cove.

Unfortunately, many of his comrades were killed in the conflict and he himself was injured and transferred to England, where while in hospital he met his future wife and the rest is history.

I often consider what courage and commitment to faith my Great Grandfather and these young soldiers must have had, to continue to fight against such overwhelming odds.

As we reflect tonight, let us not be about glorifying war but rather about promoting the wisdom our war veterans have taught us, through their life experiences.

Wisdom about - a love and respect for life and humanity, a commitment to faith, and the courage to challenge injustice.

With me tonight is my grandfather, who is also Robert Clarke. Grandpa Bob served as an aircraft engineer, in the South Pacific during World War II. It is interesting to note that the values that underpin his life are the same as those demonstrated my Great Grandfather; a love and respect for life and humanity, a commitment to faith and the courage to challenge injustice. I hope as a young leader of the future I too can carry such virtue forward to build upon the lives of my Great Grandfather and Grandfather.

Each year as a family we go to see my Grandfather march on ANZAC Day. Through our presence at the march we wish to show to my Grandfather and all the other War Veterans just how proud of them we are and how grateful we are that they have created for us a future full of all the possibilities that come with freedom.

As the youth of today the march also serves as a constant reminder that we as a generation have not experienced first hand the impact of war, and that we need to as future leaders of our country continue to work towards world peace.

As Pope John Paul II so rightly stated:

"To you, Creator of nature and humanity, of truth and beauty, I pray, Hear my voice, for it is the voice, of the victims of all wars, and the violence among individuals and nations.

Hear my voice, for it is the voice, of all the children who suffer, and will suffer when people put their faith in weapons and war.

Hear my voice when I beg you to instil into the hearts of all human beings the wisdom of peace, the strength of justice, and the joy of fellowship.

O God, hear my voice, and grant unto the world your everlasting peace".

May the spirit of ANZAC live in our hearts forever, and their wisdom and respect for life, guide us as young leaders to strive for world peace.

Lest We Forget.

Written by Ben Clarke, College Captain, CBC Adelaide
Originally published in the College Newsletter, 4th May 2005


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